The delicate, sun-colored petals of the calendula plant belie its formidable history as a golden healer. Ever scraped your leg, nicked your finger, or gotten a nasty sunburn? Calendula could have helped ease the pain. It certainly worked for the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans who considered it almost magical because of its healing powers. In the medieval kingdoms of Europe, apart from being used in balms, salves, and ointments, calendula was even added to charms and talismans to protect the wearer. And this simple and effective remedy is as popular today as it was thousands of years ago.
If It Was Good Enough for Mary…
This unassuming home remedy has some very hallowed origins. If you’ve ever second-guessed the healing powers of calendula, just look to none other than Jesus and Mary – this good old classic is thought to date back to when Jesus and Mary lived among mortals. In fact, before it got its scientific name, the Calendula officinalis was called Marienblome in Germany and Marienbloemkijn in the Netherlands – a nod to Mary and a precursor to the modern marigold (Mary’s gold).
The word “calendula” itself is said to have been coined by the Romans in reference to its cyclical blooming. The ancient civilization used it to treat scorpion bites, among other things. The herbal remedy is believed to have been used in ancient Greece and Rome and even features in floral crowns – a sign of how important the plant was to them. The Egyptians also revered the calendula as a sacred flower. Today, people around the world look to calendula creams and teas to treat various problems. You can’t argue with a plant that’s survived such countless battles, regime changes, and medical advancements!
Where Does Calendula Come From?
Calendula is a perennial herbaceous plant from the daisy family and is also called the pot marigold. The golden yellow and orange flowering plants are typically found in the Mediterranean, the United States, Western Europe, Macaronesia, and Southwestern Asia. Its petals, both fresh and dried, are used in a variety of medicines, mostly for topical use. Interestingly, its familiar sharp flavor and golden yellow color have earned calendula the name “poor man’s saffron.”
It’s easy to confuse calendula for the common marigold (also known as the Mexican marigold), yet they couldn’t be more different: the latter doesn’t offer any of the benefits that calendula does.
Tap The Power Of Calendula
A first-aid kit must-have, the pot marigold or calendula has been used for everything from easing menstrual cramps to treating upset stomachs, making it a real golden remedy. Drunk as a tea or diluted to a rinse or mouthwash, calendula can be taken in various forms. But the wider, more popular use of calendula is as a cream or a topical ointment.
From cuts and bruises to burns and insect bites or stings, there’s nothing a dab of calendula can’t sort out, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to soothe the skin.1 Apart from fighting off infections, calendula creams can increase blood flow to the affected area, aiding new tissue growth and helping the body heal more easily. 2
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Braun, Lesley, and Marc Cohen. Herbs and Natural Supplements, Volume 2: An Evidence-Based Guide. Vol. 2. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2015.|
|2.||↑||Calendula. University of Maryland Medical Center.|